Wednesday, March 3, 2010

David Clewell is the new Poet Laureate of Missouri

This is a kick in the pants! David Clewell - the poet that Poetry Scores is scoring for 2010 - is the new Poet Laureate of Missouri!

The Clewell poem we are scoring this year is Jack Ruby's America, with various public programs to come this year at the Missouri History Museum, The Luminary Center for the Arts, Atomic Cowboy and The Royale.

Here is the press release from the Governor's Office. Huzzah!

Gov. Nixon appoints David Clewell Poet Laureate of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he has appointed David Clewell, Professor of English at Webster University in St. Louis, as Missouri’s new Poet Laureate. Clewell’s appointment runs for two years, and expires on Jan. 31, 2012.

First Lady Georganne Nixon served as honorary chair of the Poet Laureate advisory committee, and she introduced Clewell today during the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition in Jefferson City.

“You don’t have to spend very long with David Clewell, or his poetry, to know that he has a unique perspective on contemporary American life and the characters and ideas that loom large in our recent history,” Gov. Nixon said.

“David’s wry humor, tart social commentary and accessible style give his poetry a broad appeal. He also brings a passion for teaching literature, and will help expose a new generation of Missourians not only to his fine work, but to the work of great American poets from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to Missouri’s own Mark Twain.”

Clewell teaches poetry workshops, 19th and 20th Century literature and topics-in-poetry seminars at Webster University. He directs the Creative Writing program and coordinates the attendant Visiting Writer Series, which he started in 1986. He received his B.A. in English at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and his M.F.A. in writing at Washington University in St. Louis.

He has conducted numerous poetry workshops and discussions for K-12 students and teachers in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and gives frequent readings at schools, nursing homes and civic organizations throughout the state. He was an artist in residence in Missouri K-12 schools and has served on the Literature Advisory Panel for the Missouri Arts Council.

He has published seven collections of poems, including Blessings in Disguise (a National Poetry Series winner), Now We're Getting Somewhere (winner of the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize) and, most recently, The Low End of Higher Things. He also is the author of two book-length poems [including Jack Ruby's America, which we are scoring] and several chapbooks.

His poetry has appeared in more than 50 journals and magazines, including Harper’s, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, New Letters and River Styx. His poems have been included in numerous anthologies including Best American Poetry 2010 (Scribner, 2010) and Sixty Years of American Poetry (Abrams, 1996). He has been nominated seven times for the national Pushcart Prize for poetry.

Clewell lives in Webster Groves with his wife, Patricia, and 13-year-old son, Ben.

He succeeds Missouri’s first poet laureate, Walter Bargen, of Ashland, whose term has expired.

Several examples of Clewell’s poetry are available online at

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